POLOKWANE, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 16: Bongani Khumalo during the 2011 Vodacom Challenge match between Kaizer Chiefs and Tottenham Hotspur from Peter Mokaba Stadium on July 16, 2011 in Polokwane, South Africa. (Photo by Lefty Shivmabu/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
It hasn't yet been confirmed by either Tottenham Hotspur or Reading, but it's all over the internets that South African international defender Bongani Khumalo will head on loan to the Royals from Spurs. The 24-year-old is coming off a couple of solid performances during the team's preseason tour in South Africa and should provide a good boost to a Reading team fighting for the promotion playoffs.
Khumalo went to Preston at the end of last season on an emergency loan, and by all accounts looked good in his six games in the Championship. Khumalo will now get a full season in that league, which can only be a good thing for the development of his career.
Though it might seem like, at 24, Khumalo is a little old to turn into a Premier League quality starting central defender, we have to remember that he comes from a different system. Last year's loan spell at Preston were Khumalo's first games outside of South African football. Even if he has all of the tools to be a star, he can't be expected to be one for a couple of years.
Khumalo's level might be as a high-end Championship or low-end Championship defender, but even if he never gets better than that, Tottenham made a solid buy at a fee of £1.5m. I think Khumalo is going to have a good season in the Championship, and that next year we'll be talking about him as a reliable backup for the first team.